Temporal association of entomopathogenic nematodes (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae) and bacteria

Dawn H. Gouge, Jennifer L. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Galleria mellonella L. larvae were infected with three species (seven strains) of Steinernema spp. or three species (three strains) of Heterorhabditis spp. Infected larvae were incubated at 22, 27, and 32°C. Larvae were dorsally dissected every 6 h over a 48-h period. Hemolymph was collected and streaked on tryptic soy agar plates. Several non-symbiotic bacterial species were identified from infected insect cadavers: Enterobacter gergoviae, Vibrio spp., Pseudomonas fluorescens type C, Serratia marcescens, Citrobacter freundii, and Serratia proteomaculans. At 18-24 h incubation, the nematode-associated symbiont occurred almost exclusively. Bacterial associates generally appeared outside the 18-24 h window. Infective juveniles of Steinernema feltiae (Filipjev) (27), Steinernema riobrave Cabanillas, Poinar, and Raulston (Oscar), or Steinernema carpocapsae (Weiser) (Kapow) were left untreated, or surface sterilized using thimerosal, then pipetted under sterile conditions onto tryptic soy agar plates. Several additional species of associated bacteria were identified using this method compared with the less extensive range of species isolated from infected G. mellonella. There was no difference in bacterial species identified from non-sterile or surface sterilized nematodes, suggesting that the bacteria identified originated from either inside the nematode or between second and third stage juvenile cuticles. Infective juveniles of S. feltiae (Cowles), S. carpocapsae (Cowles), and H. bacteriophora Poinar (Cowles) were isolated from field samples. Nematodes were surface-sterilized using sodium hypochlorite, mixed with G. mellonella hemolymph, and pipetted onto Biolog BUG (with blood) agar. Only the relevant symbionts were isolated from the limited number of samples available. The nematodes were then cultured in the laboratory for 14 months (sub-cultured in G. mellonella 7-times). Other Enterobacteriaceae could then be isolated from the steinernematid nematodes including S. marcescens, Salmonella sp., and E. gergoviae, indicating the ability of the nematodes to associate with other bacteria in laboratory culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-157
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Bacteria
  • Contaminants
  • Enterobacteriaceae
  • Entomopathogenic nematodes
  • Heterorhabditis
  • Photorhabdus
  • Steinernema
  • Symbiotic
  • Xenorhabdus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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